Kickboxing club hosts successful tournament
Some of Airdrie’s littlest kickboxers took centre stage at the Lil’ Dragons youth kickboxing and Muay Thai tournament which was hosted at the Airdrie Martial Arts Centre June 10.
The club has been hosting the tournament for the last four years.
“It was very successful,” said Vanessa Bellegarde, one of the club’s owners and instructors. “With each tournament we’ve been having more and more kids showing up. It’s getting bigger and bigger. We’ve had to move to a bigger facility and we’re still growing more.”
This year, the tournament attracted more than 60 competitors from the local gym in Airdrie, as well as three from Calgary ranging from ages four to 14. They were separated based on age, size and skill level.
With the young age groups and the different ability levels, Bellegarde said the focus of the tournament was showcasing skill rather than power.
“Our goal was for everyone to have fun and to experience (competing) against other kids,” she said. “It’s all about technique and sportsmanship.”
“We’re essentially teaching them to be combative,” added Luis Cofre, Bellegarde’s co-owner and instructor. “Whenever you want to look at combat sports, you want to be able to look at the athleticism. There’s a lot of skill involved with combat arts.”
The Lil’ Dragons tournament was the last one of the season before the club breaks for the summer. The after-school program, which offers kickboxing and Muay Thai classes, will start up again in October. It offers full- and part-time classes for children ages four to 14 and an option for students to be transported from school to the lessons.
Cofre said they’re hoping to keep growing the tournament when the new season starts up in the fall, but also to start growing the sport provincially.
There is currently no provincial governing body for youth kickboxing in Alberta.
“What I’d like to see as an athlete myself is to have Provincials and have everyone in Alberta compete in one tournament,” he said.
“We’re spearheading that in the near future and we’d love to host it here in Airdire and have athletes from other provinces and across Canada and the States compete here.”